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24.09.2019 | Original Paper

Tumour Cell Anaplasia and Multinucleation as Prognosticators in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Head and Neck Pathology
Peter Molony, Reiltin Werner, Cara Martin, Deirdre Callanan, Patrick Sheahan, Cynthia Heffron, Linda Feeley
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12105-019-01081-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Human papilloma virus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC) tend to have good outcomes, however a subset does not share this favourable prognosis. The aim of this paper is to investigate the utility of tumour cell anaplasia and multinucleation as prognostic markers in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Retrospective review of 104 patients with OPSCC or squamous cell carcinoma of unknown primary site (SCCUP) who underwent primary resection and/or lymph node dissection. Slides of both primary and nodal metastatic disease were assessed for the presence of anaplasia and multinucleation. 53 patients were HPV-positive. Anaplasia was more frequent in males (p = 0.005), smokers (p = 0.003), and HPV-negative disease (p = 0.04). HPV status and > 10 pack-year smoking history were independent predictors of recurrence-free survival (RFS) and disease-specific survival (DSS). Neither anaplasia, nor multinucleation, at the primary site or in cervical metastases, had any significant impact on RFS or DSS. We did not find either anaplasia or multinucleation to have any significant prognostic impact in OPSCC. However, given the small number of adverse events in the HPV-positive cohort, we may have lacked sufficient power to detect significance in what was the subgroup of primary interest. Our study highlights the challenge of identifying markers of poor prognosis in HPV-positive OPSCC.

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